Ruler (in mm), torque wrench, 12mm socket, 22mm
socket, or 30mm for the latest Monsters
Disclaimer- As with any mechanical adjustment, if done improperly this
procedure could be harmful to your bike and could cause severe injury in
the event of a crash.  If you are at all unsure of your ability to perform this
procedure correctly, PLEASE do not attempt to do so.
Maintaining your chain is very important to maintaining its life.  I'm not saying that
you need to adjust your chain every week, because you don't.  You should, however,
check it before every ride.  Simply reach down and push up on the chain in the middle to
see that it is not out of adjustment.
The recommended tension is 20-25mm.  However, in talking to other people I have found that 25mm is better than
20mm.  With the chain tight, there is a chance of breaking the transmission, breaking the chain, etc.  I only need to
adjust my chain every 500-700 miles, maybe more.  One thing to keep in mind is that chains have loose and tight
spots, so you'll need to roll the bike around and find the tightest spot, then adjust it from there.  For information on
chainlubrication, visit my
chain lube page.
Place the bike on the sidestand and loosen the axle nut on each
side of the wheel with a 22mm (or 30mm for later bikes) socket or
end wrench.  I used the torque wrench to illustrate this, but it
would be wise to use a simple ratchet and socket or end wrench to
avoid messing up the accuracy of the torque wrench.  Actually, I
doubt many torque wrenches will allow you to loosen bolts...
Next, take a 12mm socket or end
wrench and loosen the adjuster bolts
on each side.
Now use your ruler to
measure the slack (after
you've located the tightest
spot ont he chain).  Eyeball
from the center of the front
sprocket to the center of
the rear sprocket, and place
the ruler in the exact center
of that.  This is the point
that the chain slack is
measured from.  To
measure the slack, mark on
the ruler where the
As far as the measurement is concerned, that is a point of hot debate.  I go for the looser side of the Ducati
recommendation, and that is 25mm.  By keeping it at 20mm, there is more chance for increased chain wear and
transmission stress.  Besides, 25mm is still far tighter than many other manufacturers' recommendations.
The other trick to doing this is to MAKE SURE the notches on the
axle are even on each side (for example, the inner front of the plate
lines up with the third notch from the center on each side).  If not,
that means the wheel is crooked.  When adjusting the chain, do a
little on one side, then a little on the other.  You may need to
tighten one side, then loosen the other, and vice versa.  Just make
sure that the notches are even before measuring the chain and
tightening everything up.
Once the chain is adjusted, you can torque the nuts on the axle.  Do a
little on one side, then a little on the other, etc.  This is because as
you tighten one side, you are also tightening the other.  You want the
nuts to be evenly threaded over the axle bolts on each side.  Also, be
sure not to overtorque the nuts because the axle bolts strip easily.  I
shoot for about 55 ft-lbs. and check them constantly for signs of
backing off.
Finally, you can torque the adjuster bolts.  Again, do not
overtighten.  I do these at about 7 ft-lbs.  It may be easier
to also get an in-lb torque wrench (not cheaper though),
and do them at 70 inch pounds I think it is, because many
ft-lb wrenches don't go down to 7 ft-lbs accurately.  My
wrench goes form 5-80 ft-lbs.
And there you have it.  Be sure to read through the procedure in your service manual, because I am a little
sketchy on the torque figures.  I give mine here because they work on MY bike.  I don't know about yours.  At this
point, take it for a test ride, and when you get back you can
lube it.  Good luck.
This page is in no way associated with, nor is it an entity of Ducati Motor Holding, S.p.A.  All content, information, and views expressed
herein are those of myself and do not reflect those of Ducati or its affiliates.  The "DUCATI" logo and "Circle D" are registered trademarks of Ducati
Motor Holding, S.p.A., all other content on this website is copyright 2002, Monster Man Productions.  If you would like to link to my page, feel free to
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bottom of the chain sits normally, then push up the center of the chain as far as you can with your finger.  This
measurement should fall within Ducati's spec of 20-25mm.  To adjust this, (with the axle nuts loose), simply tighten
the adjuster bolts to tighten the chain, or loosen the adjuster bolts to loosen the chain.  The trick to loosening the
chain is to make sure the bike is on steady surface, and once the bolts are loose, push the wheel forward to slide it
up the axle.  You need to make sure you do this before measuring the chain again, because it will lead to a false